The singer made a rare public appearance on Sunday

By Adam Carlson
Updated June 28, 2015 11:45 PM
Credit: Getty

Declaring her its inaugural “Ultimate Icon,” the BET Awards fêted Janet Jackson in style Sunday night with a tribute which included dance performances from Ciara, Jason Derulo and Tinashe – and an appearance by the dance-pop icon herself.

The moment began with a special montage showing Jackson, 49, through the years. It then led into a medley of dance performances from Ms. Jackson’s most famous hits, including “Rhythm Nation.”

The amazing performances ended when Jackson strutted onstage in a white outfit to accept the first-ever Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award.

“I’m so grateful for the support you’ve alway given me, to my beautiful father and my beautiful mother,” the singer said, looking out at her parents sitting in the audience.

Jackson reignited her fanbase with the news last month that she would be launching new album, a new world tour and a “new movement” in 2015, seven years after the release of her last album, Discipline.

“An inspiration to many other artists, ‘Ms. Jackson’ (’cause I’m nasty) blends music, dance and visuals in unique and groundbreaking ways,” Stephen G. Hill, BET’s president of programming, said upon the award’s announcement.

In recent weeks, Jackson has teased her new music. She released a snippet of new track “Listen” in mid June, and released the album’s first track, “No Sleep,” on Monday.

Her 36-date Unbreakable World Tour kicks off in Vancouver in August.

The BET Awards’ other performers included Janelle Monée, Kendrick Lamar, and Nicki Minaj, plus presenters Michael Ealy, Laverne Cox, Michael B. Jordan and Kelly Rowland, among others, with hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson.